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Lay of the Land

Protecting Alaska's Tongass | 10 Reasons to Protect our National Forests | W Watch | Clean Air Act? | Jack Morrow Hills | Using Up the Planet | Bold Strokes | Children Pay Price for Pollution | Fuel Economy | Updates

Using up the Planet

By Reed McManus

Humankind is now consuming natural resources faster than they can be replaced. Researchers at the nonprofit public policy organization Redefining Progress pored over 40 years of data, comparing levels of agriculture, grazing, logging, fishing, and other human demands to the earth’s regenerative capabilities. In the early 1960s, humans used up 70 percent of the earth’s productive capacity. By the 1980s, we started to exceed nature’s annual output. In 1999 we were using 125 percent of capacity. At this rate, says lead researcher Mathis Wackernagel, "we may have to prepare for ecological bankruptcy." Unless, of course, we stop biting the hand that feeds us.

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